The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) plays a major role in supporting Singapore’s growing international business, hospitality and tourism sectors. New ITE College West is one of three mega-campuses the institute has recently developed in an effort to activate the student and faculty community in new ways.
Designers for the project have utilised the institution’s mantra, ‘Waves of Transformation’, as a formal point of departure, and both the campus architecture and landscape are guided by gentle curves. Curvatures in plan result in three-dimensional undulating walls that are accentuated with strong horizontal elements designed in elevation. The horizontal components serve to connect the building’s many parts. Covered plazas work as transition zones marrying indoor and outdoor spaces: a 3,000 square metre tensile-roof structure made of Teflon, for instance, provides sun and rain protection for the central events plaza, a successful generative space on campus.
With a focus on service-industry education, New ITE College West is hallmarked by a ‘business town’ that has been implemented to replace conventional classrooms. The business town facilities promote hands-on experiential learning and include functioning restaurants, shops, a hotel, and a convention centre for student training. The complex, which is open to the public, also works to establish interaction between the private academic institution and the surrounding community. Additional state-of-the-art educational facilities include a wine cellar, a 700-seat auditorium, and a centre for music and the arts with a DJ room, broadcast studios and dance spaces. A sports village contains an Olympic-sized swimming pool, gymnasium, and running track.
The project was financed through a public-private partnership (PPP), a method of development typically implemented for civil infrastructure projects. New ITE College West is the first social infrastructure PPP project in Singapore, and amongst the first in Asia, serving as an investment experiment for development in the education sector.